You’re a sophomore in high school & your guidance counselor is advising you to start looking into colleges. You can’t even drive and you’re trying to decide where you should spend the four most important years of your life (at least that’s what it feels like). There’s approximately 1,800 4-year universities in the United States, what are the chances you choose the “right one”. When you’re 16 you probably don’t even know what major you’ll end up studying. That is why it’s important to take advantage of websites like collegeboard.org. These websites usually have lists of college majors, what they entail, and what you can do with them after college. Here are some tips on how to choose a college….
- Do you want to be close or far from home? For instance, I wanted to be close to home so I only looked in New England, mostly Massachusetts
- Do you want to go to a large campus or a smaller campus? I go to UMass Amherst and the class of 2018 has around 4,000 kids where Keeene State only has that many students total. It takes me 15 minutes to walk across campus and it takes my sister (Keene) about 5.
- Are you looking for co-ed or not? I’ve noticed that a lot of Catholic colleges segregate dorm floors by gender but their classes are co-ed. Or there’s Smith in Northampton that is only girls
- Are you looking to be in an urban area or more of a rural area? UMass is Western, MA which is much different than a school in Boston. When I didn’t have a car I’d either take a Peter Pan bus home (or if you’re not from MA or New York, the airport) or my dad would have to come get me.
- Do they guarantee housing all four years? I know the dorms in Boston are often cheaper than living in an apartment or your own, especially one close to school.
- Do they have a variety of majors? You want to be able to explore alol sorta of subjects and classes while you’re in school to see what you really enjoy studying and doing.
- Will you need a car? Not all schools allow their students to have cars
- Remember: every school can be a party school if you want it to be. Or if you want to be more low key then you can totally find that at any school too.
- Make a list of 5-10 schools
- Visit them. while you’re walking around the campus, sitting in the classrooms, a looking at the dorm rooms think about if you could genuinely see yourself going to the school. Would you be over or underwhelmed?
- Narrow down your list, apply for scholarships, look into financial aid.
- I think it’s important to have one reach school & one safety school. A safety school doesn’t need to be a school you loved but more a school that you’re almost guaranteeed to get into.
- Apply, even if you’re questioning financial aid because you could be pleasantly surprised.
- Don’t stress too much, you can always transfer if you don’t end up liking the one you choose.
**I applied to Boston University, Emerson College, Keene State, Worcester State, and UMass Amherst. BU was my reach school and Worcester State was my safety school. I chose two Boston schools and two more rural schools just so I had the options. I ended up going to UMass because of the variety of majors, and it was much cheaper than a school is Boston. I didn’t end up going to Keene because I realized that I didn’t want to go to a college where I knew everyone, I wanted to have my privacy. If you have any questions or comments I’d be more than happy to chat!